The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) have invited three consortia to enter a Request for Proposal (RFP) phase for an Inland Rail section which includes a 6.2km tunnel through the Toowoomba Range – the longest diesel freight rail tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere.

This section from Gowrie outside Toowoomba to Kagaru near Beaudesert in Queensland, wil be delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Capstone, G2K Connect and Regionerate Rail are all submitting proposals.

Inland Rail CEO, Richard Wankmuller, said it was an important milestone for the Inland Rail project.

“The RFP process will enable ARTC to leverage the considerable global engineering expertise required to deliver innovative design solutions and efficient construction methods for this technically challenging terrain,” Mr Wankmuller said.

“The Public Private Partnership (PPP) will deliver the 128km from Gowrie to Kagaru and will include construction of three tunnels and numerous viaducts, bridges and crossing loops.

“The geology and topography of this section, mostly located within protected corridors, poses many challenges which have required us to undertake a lot of site investigations to obtain a better understanding of the conditions and inform the final design.”

Mr Wankmuller said the PPP process would assist in finding an engineering solution to traverse the Great Dividing Range by drawing on the private sector’s experience.

“This is the type of challenge that excites multi-national contractors, engineers and financiers. This is the type of iconic project that consortia will use to showcase their credentials when pursuing future contracts,” Mr Wankmuller said.

“The PPP section has already generated jobs associated with the geotechnical investigations, cultural heritage surveys and environmental impact assessments.

“More than $1 billion in contracts have been awarded to companies working on Inland Rail to date.

“ARTC aims to award a contract in 2022 to the group that delivers the best proposal.

“This will come at an important time as our national economy continues to rebuild.”

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